Your Excellency Li Keqiang!
Dear colleagues ,
At the outset, let me congratulate you on China’s successful Chairmanship of the SCO Council of Heads of Government during the course of this year, that has given a new momentum to the trade and economic agenda of the organization.
India is a neighbor and a historical partner for the SCO region since time immemorial and has deep civilizational linkages with the people who live in this region. We share a common geographical space, which has facilitated continuous exchange through the millennia of people, ideas and goods in both directions and left indelible imprints on our customs, traditions and languages. These historical ties should now create a template for greater economic cooperation between our nations.
As we strive to improve trade within the region, we need better connectivity in the SCO region that underlines the Centrality of the interests of Central Asian states. Robust connectivity will unlock the economic potential of this region in which Chabahar port and the International North South Transport Corridor could become enablers. However, we must bear in mind that regional connectivity projects should respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Member States and the International Law.
Today, when the whole world is facing the challenges of a looming economic recession, food and energy security- a closer cooperation among SCO Member States becomes even more imperative. SCO member countries contribute about 30 percent of global GDP and 40 percent of the world's population and will therefore, play a pivotal role in combating these global challenges.
As part of India’s contribution to mitigating the food and energy security facing humanity, on 20 October 2022 - PrimeMinister Modi launched the global Mission ‘LIFE’ – which stands for Lifestyle for Environment. LIFE envisions replacing the prevalent 'use-and-dispose' economy—governed by mindless and destructive consumption—with a circular economy, which would be defined by mindful and deliberate utilization of resources.
LIFE plans to leverage the strength of social networks to influence social norms surrounding climate. The Mission plans to create and nurture a global network of individuals, namely ‘Pro-Planet People’ (P3), who will have a shared commitment to adopt and promote environmentally friendly lifestyles. Through the P3 community, the Mission seeks to create an ecosystem that will reinforce and enable environmentally friendly behaviors to be self-sustainable.
The concept of ‘Reduce, Reuse and Recycle’ and circular economy has been a part of the Indian lifestyle for years, which inspires us to walk in harmony with nature. Mission LIFE will encompass every lifestyle related to the conservation of nature, which our ancestors adopted, and that can be made a part of our lifestyle today.
India is committed to tackling the challenge of climate change and is among the few large economies that have delivered in letter and spirit on the Paris Agreement. The annual per capita carbon footprint in the country is only about 1.5tons, compared to the world average of 4 tons per year. India has the fourth largest capacity for renewable energy in the world. We are ranked fourth in wind energy and fifth in solar energy. India’s renewable energy capacity has increased by about 290 percent in the last 7-8 years. We have also achieved the target of achieving 40 percent of the electric capacity from non-fossil-fuel sources 9 years ahead of the deadline. We had also achieved a target of 10 percent ethanol blending in petrol. Through the National Hydrogen Mission, India has moved towards an environment-friendly energy source. This will help India and many countries of the world to achieve their goal of net zero. Under our Chairmanship of SCO, we have proposed several seminars and conferences to highlight the challenge of climate change and how bestwe can work together on these issueswithin the SCO framework.
The world faces another major challenge today – and that is ensuring the food security of our citizens. One possible solution to this problem is to promote the cultivation and consumption of millets. Millets are an ancient superfood that has been grown for thousands of years, not just in SCO countries, but in many parts of the world, and is a traditional, nutritious, climate-resilient and low-cost alternative to dealing with the food crisis. The year 2023 will be celebrated as the UN International Year of Millets. India intends to foster greater cooperation with SCO Member States oncountering the food crisis during our Chairmanship.
10. India is currently the fastest-growing major economy. The estimated GDPof the country by the end of 2022 is to be $3.54 trillion. It is projected to transform into a $30 trillion economy by 2048. This year, as per IMF estimates, we are expecting 6.8% economic growth. The total exports from India in 2021-22 stood at almost US $ 670 billion, putting India among the top 10 exporters in the world by value. However, our total trade with SCO Members is only $141 billion, which has potential to increase manifold. Today, India is home to the best innovation ecosystems in the world with more than 70,000 Start-ups, of which more than 100 are unicorns. We are supporting innovation in every sector. We welcome collaboration with SCO Member States in this sunrise sector.
11. As I conclude, I seek support from the SCO Member States for India’s ongoing Chairmanship of the organisation. We look forward to welcoming delegates from Member States for the various meetings and socio-cultural events to be hosted in India.
I thank you for your attention !